200th anniversary of the birth of Alfred Stevens
This month we celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Alfred Stevens, the famous Belgian painter long championed by the Mitchell family. This year also marks the fiftieth anniversary of our firm’s pioneering Stevens exhibition and the accompanying monograph by my father, Peter Mitchell, the first ever biography of him written in English. Thus, it may fairly be said, began the gradual revival of the reputation of - and the art world’s interest in – the life and work of this once-famous artist, a prominent figure in the glittering artistic milieu of Paris in the 1870s and 1880s, and an important influence on American painters of the time, most notably William Merritt Chase.
By chance, Ready for the Ball, one of the most famous of all Stevens’ paintings and bought directly from the artist in Paris in 1879 by William K.Vanderbilt is coming up for auction in New York later this month (see here) – a timely reminder of the rich association between Alfred Stevens and the United States, where today over thirty museums and institutions hold his paintings.